Wandy Rodriguez Rumors

Wandy Rodriguez Undergoes Season-Ending Knee Surgery

After being released by the Pirates, starter Wandy Rodriguez has undergone surgery on his right knee, according to a report from Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Spanish language link). Rodriguez will miss the rest of the season but hopes to be ready to return next spring.

The 35-year-old lefty drew interest from several clubs after being shown the door by Pittsburgh, he told Rojas. But he decided instead to work on getting healthy for next year. Of course, there was limited upside to returning to the hill this year, especially at less than full capacity. The Pirates and Astros were (and are) on the hook together for $13MM ($5.5MM still being paid by Houston), so Rodriguez was not going to increase his earnings.

Rodriguez tossed 205 2/3 innings of 3.76 ERA ball in 2012, and worked to a 3.59 mark in 62 2/3 frames over an injury-shortened 2013. After exercising a player option for 2014, though, Rodriguez was neither healthy nor productive. He managed only 26 2/3 innings, allowing 20 earned runs in the process. Nevertheless, given his prior track record as a useful innings-eater, Rodriguez should draw interest if he can show that his knee and left arm are healthy come spring.


Pirates Place Wandy Rodriguez On Release Waivers

MAY 30: The Pirates have placed Rodriguez on unconditional release waivers, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter).

MAY 22: The Pirates announced that they have re-instated Russell Martin from the 15-day disabled list and designated left-hander Wandy Rodriguez for assignment.

The DFA marks a somewhat surprising end to what has been an injury-riddled Pirates tenure for Rodriguez. Acquired from the Astros in 2012 (in exchange for Colton Cain, Rudy Owens and Robbie Grossman), Rodriguez totaled just 164 1/3 innings in parts of three seasons with Pittsburgh.

Rodriguez was healthy and effective for the Bucs after the acquisition in 2012, pitching to a 3.72 ERA in 75 innings. However, a forearm strain limited him to just 62 2/3 innings last season, and right knee inflammation cost him three weeks earlier this season. Still, with the exception of 2014, the veteran southpaw has pitched well when healthy.

This season, he’s registered a 6.75 ERA with a 20-to-8 K/BB ratio and a whopping 10 homers in 26 2/3 innings. Never one to throw particularly hard, Rodriguez’s average fastball velocity is a career-worst 88.3 mph this season. Still, given his $13MM salary ($5.5MM of which is being paid by Houston) and the fact that the Pirates have previously bought low on pitchers with potentially fluky homer-to-flyball ratios (A.J. Burnett, Mark Melancon and, to a lesser extent, Francisco Liriano), it’s a bit surprising that Rodriguez was the odd man out.

Pittsburgh will have 10 days to trade, outright or release Rodriguez, though his salary and recent injury problems make it highly unlikely that someone would claim him on waivers. A trade is unlikely for the same reason, unless the Pirates were to kick in some cash. Rodriguez is earning $13MM in 2014 — $5.5MM of which is being covered by the Astros. In other words, with more than a quarter of the season gone, Pittsburgh is eating roughly $5.33MM worth of salary, which is a sizable chunk of its $72MM Opening Day payroll.


Wandy Rodriguez Exercises Player Option

Wandy Rodriguez has informed the Pirates that he has exercised his $13MM player option for the 2014 season, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.

Rodriguez's decision was an expected one, as the soon-to-be 35-year-old pitched just 62 2/3 innings for the Pirates in 2013 as a result of an injury to his left (throwing) forearm. Rodriguez wouldn't have been able to approach this type of money as a free agent, so he will instead look to bounce back as a member of a Pirates rotation that will also include Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton. The Pirates want to bring A.J. Burnett back into the fold, but they have Jeff Locke as an internal replacement, should Burnett decide to retire.

Rodriguez was effective in his limited 2013 sample, posting a 3.59 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/8 and a 42.3 percent ground-ball rate. He was originally acquired by the Pirates in a 2012 trade that sent Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens and Colton Cain to the Astros.



Central Notes: Grimm, Rodriguez, McDonald

Since picking up Justin Grimm from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, the Cubs have liked what they've seen from him in a relief role, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Pitching coach Chris Bosio explains that the club is "presenting different roles for him," and Gonzales says that Grimm could stay in the pen going into spring training. On to more links from the AL and NL Central…

  • The Pirates have shut down Wandy Rodriguez because of persistent pain and discomfort in his left forearm, according to a statement from GM Neal Huntington. The move will provide more time for the flexor tendon in Rodriguez's forearm to heal and sets him up to be ready for Opening Day 2014, Huntington said.
  • Rodriguez says he hasn't considered whether he'll trigger his $13MM player option for next year, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. However, it's unlikely that he doesn't do so, Biertempfel says. The Pirates are on the hook for $7.5MM of the option.
  • The Twins don't plan to sign James McDonald, who elected free agency today after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Pirates, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com says. Minnesota will re-evaluate McDonald and take a look at his medicals over the offseason, however.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Pirates Acquire Wandy Rodriguez

The Pirates have acquired left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros in exchange for minor leaguers Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman, and Colton Cain

The Astros will also pay some of the remaining salary owed to Rodriguez at least through 2013 and perhaps through 2014, as the club option for that year became a player option when Rodriguez was traded, per a stipulation in his contract. The Astros' yearly contributions to Rodriguez's salaries break down as such: $1.7MM in 2012, $8.5MM in 2013, and potentially $7.5MM in 2014.

Rodriguez, 33, has posted a 4.04 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in a little over 1,300 career innings, all with the Astros. The Wasserman Media Group client signed a three-year, $34MM extension with Houston prior to the 2011 season.

Grossman, an outfielder, is the best of the three prospects acquired by Houston, according to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM ESPN radio (Twitter). A 22-year-old switch-hitter, Grossman was a sixth-round draft choice of the Bucs in 2008. He's hit .262/.374/.403 with seven homers in 413 plate appearances this season with Double-A Altoona.

Owens, 24, had a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has been added to Houston's 40-man roster.

Tom Singer of MLB.com first broke that the trade was close. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirmed that it was official and added in financial details (via Twitter), as did Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter). And club press releases added which players the Astros received.


Texas Links: Scutaro, Lee, Wandy, Astros

The Rangers have the second best record in baseball (55-37) while the Astros have the worst record in baseball (34-60). Here's the latest from Texas…

  • The Rangers would have interest in Marco Scutaro as a utility man if the Rockies were to put him on the market, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • Cliff Lee does not have the Rangers on his 21-team no-trade list according to Heyman. There is still no indication that the Phillies will move their veteran left-hander, even to free up payroll to sign Cole Hamels long-term.
  • Carlos Lee, Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ, and Brett Myers have all been traded already, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that it "will be a while" before the Astros deal Wandy Rodriguez (Twitter link).
  • In an Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Keith Law says the two pitchers the Astros received in exchange for Myers – Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters – "barely qualify as prospects." He says Walters has a chance as a lefty specialist.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney hears from rival executives that the Astros seem to be following the old Devil Rays strategy, meaning they'll accumulate top draft picks for several years because their big league team will be so bad (Twitter link).

Stark On Rays, Volquez, Butler, Phillies

The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors…

  • The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
  • The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.” 
  • The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
  • Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
  • Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
  • The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
  • Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
  • The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
  • The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.

Yankees Notes: Ankiel, Pierre, Wandy, Figueroa

It was on this day in 1961 that commissioner Ford Frick suggested that "a distinctive mark" would be placed on a new home run record if a player eclipsed Babe Ruth's then-record of 60 homers in more than 154 games (the length of Ruth's season in 1927).  Though no such notation ever used in any sort of official record, it was still popularly believed that Frick and Major League Baseball had asterisked Roger Maris' 61-homer season.

Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium…


Quick Hits: Greinke, Hunter, Ruggiano, Marlins

Here's the latest from around the league as Wednesday turns into Thursday…

  • There doesn't appear to have been much contract dialogue between the Brewers and Zack Greinke, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. As of today, there is no evidence that a formal offer has been made even though we heard last week that the team was prepared to make one.
  • Torii Hunter told Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times that he's willing to take a big paycut to return to the Angels next season. Hunter is in the final year of his five-year, $90MM deal. If things don't work out with the Halos, the outfielder said he would consider playing for the Yankees, Rangers, or Dodgers. Retirement would be an option as well.
  • The Marlins have no intention of trading Justin Ruggiano, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). The 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .368/.440/.705 in 111 plate appearances for Miami this season.
  • Frisaro also notes (on Twitter) that the Marlins are not dangling Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, or Mark Buehrle. Yesterday we heard that the team could become sellers if they don't turn things around in the coming weeks.
  • The Yankees, Tigers, and Royals were all on hand to watch Wandy Rodriguez get knocked around by the Padres this afternoon according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The left-hander remains available before the trade deadline.

Morosi On Braves, Tigers, Cardinals, Greinke

The Braves are looking at possible bullpen upgrades in addition to starting pitching options, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Here are more news items from Morosi with precisely two weeks to go before this year’s trade deadline…

  • The Tigers would like to add a left-handed starter, but are wary of taking on all of Wandy Rodriguez’s contract, Morosi reports (on Twitter). Rodriguez earns $10MM this year and $13MM next year. His contract includes a $13MM option for 2014 that becomes a player option if the Astros trade Rodriguez. 
  • Jason Vargas is a similar pitcher to Rodriguez on a more affordable contract who could appeal to the Tigers, in my opinion. Alternatively, Houston could absorb salary to facilitate a trade.
  • The Cardinals continue to monitor the market for starters and relievers, Morosi and Ken Rosenthal write. The Mariners recently scouted Cardinals pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins, but it’s not known if the teams are actively discussing a trade for Vargas or anyone else.
  • Morosi gets the sense that Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke will stay put in Milwaukee this year (video link).
  • Morosi explains that he believes Cole Hamels is a better fit for the Rangers than the Angels (video link).